SKF NOTE: Whitney Balliett‘s interesting book can be read at any time, starting on any page. There’s almost always at least one tidbit of historical significance on every page. Of course, drummers can learn a great deal about drumming from other instrumentalists – such as this observation from pianist Mel Powell.
In his New Yorker magazine obituary, it says, “Balliett played drums, and that great drummer [Sid Catlett] may have been his God.”
Mel Powell: Imagine working at age eighteen with the likes of Sidney Catlett and Cootie Williams and Billy Butterfield and Benny [Goodman], and imagine what it felt like to be on that stage at the Paramount when it rose into view at the start of each show! Catlett was a particular delight. He had delicacy as powerful as a bomb. The comfort his support gave you!
Source: Whatever Happened to Mel Powell?, by Whitney Ballet, American Musicians II: Seventy-Two Portraits in Jazz